Rhubarb and strawberries turnovers (Chausson aux pommes )

Rhubarb and Strawberry Seduction Turnovers (Chausson aux pommes in nouvel look)

Ideas come to us in our most unexpected moments.

Since were back from our one month vacation, I seem to run out of energy and inspiration for my food blog. I guess it's because of the ton of things I have to do at home that piled up due to my long absence. And besides I terribly miss the warm weather in the islands that we enjoyed, the cool weather of France makes me feel a little bit depressive these past few days. But last Friday, while roaming in the market my eyes was caught by the beautiful reddish green stalks of rhubarb and bloody red strawberries. The idea just popped into my head like that. I felt like Archimedes running (nude??) with my brilliant idea and shouting eureka, eureka when I thought of this recipe.

My Almanac of ancient fruits and vegetables claim that this beautiful stalks originated in Tibet and found it's way in France through St. Petersburg Botanical Garden

One pattisserie in France that I have always loved since the first time I tasted them are the chausson aux pommes (apple turnovers or literally apple slippers). I just had this crazy idea to replace the apples with rhubarb and strawberries. And guess what was the result. A good and a bad. First the bad news, my hubby hated the smell of the rhubarb as I simmer it in sugar syrup. For someone who's not a vegetable lover, he find the smell too strong. But the good news though, when my rhubarb and strawberries turnovers were done from the oven. He loved it!

And that's how I suceeded in posting an article for today!

I am sending over this recipe to Mikes-Table Food Blogging Event: Strawberry Seduction. Hope my turnovers will seduce him :-)

King Louis 14th finally enjoyed this delicate and highly perfumed berries after hybriding about 600 varieties from the original specie brought from France 18th century expedition in Chili

Rhubarb and strawberries Turnovers

about 5- 6 stalks of fresh rhubarb
300 g of strawberries
100 g of sugar
250 g of puff pastry dough (ready to use) or a home-made (if you have plenty of time)

Clean the strawberries and rhubarb. Cut the stalks (you can take off it's skin to avoid having to much fiber on your turnovers) of rhubarb 2 to 3 centimeters. Macerate the rhubarb and strawberries in sugar for a minimum of one hour. We can normally cook the two together but I opted to cook the rhubarb separely and mix it in blender. Afterwhich I added it to the macerated strawberries and cook them together over medium fire uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes until the syrup thickens. Cut the pastry dough based on your desired form. Fill each with a serving of the cooled strawberry and rhubarb preserve. Pre-heat the oven at 200° celsius for 15 minutes then lower the temperature at 180° celsius and bake it for 15 to twenty minutes.

My almanac suggests apples and rhubarb crumble...better try that next time!

Party Cakes : Daring Bakers Challenge

Triple layered Almond-Pistacho-Vanilla Cake with Chestnut Mousse Filling in Choco-butter cream Frosting served with its individual Chocolate Coated Strawberry

During my recent escapade in Philippines for holidays, I kept on wondering if I will have enough time to participate in DB’s challenge for the month of March upon my return. But when I’ve heard that Morven is sponsporing a Dorie’s Party Cake challenge I knew I couldn’t miss this on earth. Not that I’m good at it. In fact, baking cake is never my cup of tea but I have always love eating them (and who doesn’t). Cakes have been part of our daily lives specially during those important occassions. Although personally, I have never had my own cake nor blew its candles during my birthdays growing up. I don’t blame my parents for that. They were too poor to afford one in the first place. Anyways, I wonder how this all started, I mean preparing cakes for special events. I guess I have to google it up.

Care for a slice?

Morven was generous enough to give us liberty in expressing ourselves freely on baking this challenge. I must admit I drool on all those cakes other DBers have done. A certified chocolate and strawberry lover that I am, for this month’s challenge I give you my latest kitchen creation. Hold your breath (for the title is too long) : Squared triple layered Almond-Pistacho-Vanilla Cake with Chestnut Mousse Filling in Choco-butter cream Frosting served with its individual Chocolate Coated Strawberry.

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
half a cup of chopped pistachio and almonds, vanilla extract

For the choco Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 g of bittersweet chocolate


fresh strawberries, chocolate sauce and cocoa powder

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.

Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the three pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Choco-Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the melted chocolate, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

Vacation, game over!!

A vacation is like love - anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia. ~Author Unknown

I knew that you have been hearing about this vacation for a long time in my blog. Always filled with so much anticipation and excitement. Simply because it is our first vacation after my one year pause of pregnancy. And secondly it is our first official vacation as a family (my husband plus my 6 month old baby girl travelling with us). I never realised that spending vacation as a family is never this fun and yet tiring and demanding.

But let me be honest with you. I don't consider this last vacation of ours as one perfectly featured in a travel brochure nor the best that we had. But it is indeed an unforgettable one filled with good laughs, tears and misadventures. When I used to work as a tourist guide (that was long time ago), our favorite expression was "always expect the worst". For we believe that when we travel we tend to encounter problems one after the other.

Well I guess you have enough hint already? Let me summarize it for you:

Our first week started with me loosing all our passports and wallets when I accidentally misplaced them between the first hotel we slept and the condo unit we stayed. All my friends are asking me how "stupidly" I could have done that. But between jet-lag, lack of sleep, fatigue and a baby girl to take care of things weren't easy for me. I would admit that I have completely forgotten where I put it. So as you presumed we spent the next days going to the police station, declaring the incident, getting that "crime report" and having an impromptu rendezvous at French Embassy. (Whew, not really an interesting week to start this vacation with). If you think these days of trouble weren’t over yet, well you are mistaken. Since day one we arrived, I barely refuse a luncheon and dinner invitation of families and friends (I am a food lover afterall) and without counting of course the wedding and baptismal parties we feasted on, the result was an early stomach and diarrhea problems for me and my husband. Good thing we anticipated this one so we brought along the good medicines against these. So when we finally headed off to our vacation destination for a one week sejour in the island of Palawan, we thought « No more stress, no more problem that is all behind us now ».

Stone fish anyone?

Well that’s what we thought. We were optimist for this is actually where our real vacation begins. Anyways, If you were thinking that probably we just had booking problems with our reservation or probably some substandard amenities in the hotel well you were mistaken. I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of this yet. When we arrived the island and the weather was perfect. And we could only think of doing island hopping, snorkelling and swimming. Unfortunately, while enjoying the beach of the first island (I insist, the first island during our first day) one of my friend was stung by a stonefish (one of the most dangerous venomous fish in the world) I suggest you read the link. Well the rest is history : as expected we rushed him to the nearest hospital. The doctors gave him 2 shots of anti-tetanus, 1 shot of anti-inflammatory and 1 shot of anti-allergy. The list of our « malheurs » starts to be long but I tell you it’s far from over (ATM and credit cards not working in the island, underwater camera broken, etc.)

Million dollar and colgate free smiles.....

When the night falls....

But don’t get me wrong. We all had so much fun. Our days were spent snorkelling the colorful coral reefs, fishes and World War II sunken ships or bathing in the pristine beaches of this beautiful islands of Palawan. We spent countless days eating only fresh fruits and seafoods and delicious dishes and delicacies. Our menu : Red snapper « Lapu-lapu) simmered in spicy and sour soup (using local green lemon), very very fresh Tuna sashimi, Stingray cooked in coconut cream, Grilled Calamares, Steamed Crabs in lemon grass and onion, Garlic flambéed in tons of garlic, Pork barbeque, native chicken stew, Green mango salad, native steamed rice, mango tiramisu and lots of bananas, star-apples (kaimito) and sweet mangoes for dessert.

Our vacation is already over but I still have the taste of all these goodies, I still have the images of our funny anecdotes and all those magnificent moment in the beach and our underwater exploit . It was afterall a fantastic vacation!


I'm back!

After 3 weeks of absence, 2 bottles of sun block lotions emptied and a digital camera photo saturated, our excitement had finally died down. I normally hate long-haul flights but I was glad to be heading back home: to my garden, to my tiny kitchen....

Vacation is over and we're all exhausted. But we all sat back to enjoy all the wonderful memories we had. I'm back!

Away from desk..

After two long years of being far away from home of being close to the sceneries I've been used to. To the noise and aroma of everything I had grown up with I am suddenly submerged with excitement and home-sickness.

Not that, southern France is not the place I call my "home" because I do.

The reality is that I am attacked by pangs of excitement to see my family and spend a wonderful vacation there. Forgive me for imagining miles of sandy and pristine beaches and do nothing but frolic and eat delicious goodies my tastebud has been longing for.

Hmmm, we are finally on vacation!!